Last night I saw a FB post from a friend of a friend, someone with ties to France, reminding us that people in Nice were still hurting and still needed our prayers.
The attack that killed 84 people in Nice was only five days ago.
How many of us even remember the attack in the Istanbul airport, which only happened three weeks ago on June 26? Leave aside the fact that this event received little attention in the Western Hemisphere – “Meh, it’s just brown people.” I’m only too aware that, while these concerns are a “new” phenomenon in the developed world, a huge portion of our global neighbors have been suffering in this way forever.
That FB post I saw is a clear indicator of the state our world is in. World-wide compassion fatigue. Horrific events happen at a such a pace our hearts cannot catch up. We shut ourselves down. I couldn’t begin to count the number of people who have told me in the last week, “I can’t watch the news any more. It’s so painful, and every time I hear of more death and destruction. I just can’t.”
Relief agency workers know compassion fatigue too well. When people are constantly bombarded by heartbreaking news, giving drops. And then more people are unable to get what they need. And then there’s an increase in compassion fatigue. It’s an endless, vicious cycle.
As an award-winning navel gazer (not really, but if there were an award I’d be in the running), I pondered this tragic phenomenon for some time last night. What must be the end result as incidents of mass killing rise and the number of people directly exposed to such horror increases accordingly?
More and more people globally seeing blood and death up close. More and more people dealing with immediate trauma and then PTSD. More and more people unable to function in a normal and healthy way.
To say it boggles the mind is a gross understatement.
I can’t help but view these unspeakable occurrences through the eyes of a mother. Every single killing, whether by bombing, vehicle, police violence, or terrorist shooting, means the loss of some mother’s child. For ever person murdered, a mother’s heart is forever broken beyond repair. Her precious child lost, never to be held again.
Each time I hear of the next report – and we all know it’s becoming an almost daily occurrence – I allow myself a moment of shattering grief and prayer for those mothers. It’s the best I can do. Any more and I’d be sucked into a vortex out of which I might never surface. If a moment of such grief affects me so strongly, I can’t bear to think what those mothers are going through.
Dona nobis pacem.